What to See in Toronto
If you are learning English and you love to travel, you need to go somewhere where you can put your English skills to practice. To do so, Canada is a great place to go, since one of the official languages there is English.
This is also the country where people of different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds move to. When you visit Canada, you can meet people originally from India, Russia, China, Germany, Mexico, Japan, you name it.
This is especially true if you visit a large city, such as Toronto; that is what we’re going to talk about here.
In this article, you will find out what to see in Toronto.
First, what is Canadian English is all about?
In general, Canadian English does not have significant differences from American or British English. It is identical to British English by spelling and to American English by pronunciation.
Canadian spelling vs English or American spellings.
For example, Canadians spell the word “color” with an additional letter “u”, hence the word is spelled as “colour”. Also, words such as “defense” are spelled with a “c” instead of an “s”, which makes the word spelled as “defence”.
Even though about 90-95% of Canadians have American pronunciation, you may still run into people there who have a slight British “accent”.
Back in school, I remember having two teachers from Canada. One had speech with an American pronunciation, while the other had more of British pronunciation.
Most common words and phrases in Toronto
Each country, and sometimes each city may have it’s unique phrases or slang. Torontans, for example, sometimes like to shorten phrases in one word or omit letters, which creates their own slang. Here are some examples:
- Ting - add the letter “h” and you get “thing”, which is what this term means.
- Wagwan - it’s the same as “How is it going?” This slang originally comes from Jamaica, and it’s more popular among youth in Toronto.
- “Kudos to you” - this phrase is similar to saying “Good for you.”
- “Nize It!” - This phrase has the same meaning as “Be quiet!” or “Shush!”
- A loonie - it’s basically one-dollar coin. A two-dollar coin would be called a toonie. It should be hard to confuse the two.
What are Canadians like?
Canadians are one of the kindest nations in the world. They are known for their politeness and friendliness.
If you move to Canada and live in some neighborhood, even for a short stay, you will always hear “Hello” from your neighbors. Don’t forget to be polite to them as well and say “Hello” back.
Having that said, Canadians are generally open to conversations, so feel free to start one. That is a great way to practice your English.
Now you have an idea of what Canadians and Canadian English are all about. So, let’s get to the amusements of Toronto that you can check there.
The symbol of Toronto - The CN Tower
The CN Tower is the main attraction of Toronto, as well as its symbol. It was built in 1976 and it is the tallest building in Canada. Besides its function as a television tower, it is also a great attraction for tourists.
Every year, thousands of tourists from all over the world visit the CN Tower, especially from India, China, Japan, and from the former USSR. Hence, it is possible to book an individual tour around the tower in a “foreign language” as well, such as Russian, Chinese, Hindu, and other.
The CN Tower also offers a few cool ways to enjoy a nice panoramic view of the city of Toronto.
The restaurant is located inside the CN Tower, about 350 meters above the ground level. You can enjoy your lunch or dinner at the “360 Restaurant” and see all of the city of Toronto from all 360 degrees.
Here you can order a meal for C$150-C$400. The menu is available in three different languages: English, French, and Mandarin Chinese.
Another fun way to enjoy the view on the city from the CN Tower by edge walking. In some way, it may feel similar to wall climbing or rock climbing, since it uses the supports. But while held by these supports, you can walk on the edge of the tower and enjoy the view of the city outdoors.
Took book an edge walk may be a bit expensive, but a 30-minute walk would cost between C$195 and C$225.
For those who love to learn about different cultures, civilizations, and kinds of art, Toronto has many museums to check.
Royal Ontario Museum
One of the major museums is the Royal Ontario Museum is kind of similar to the British Museum in London, Great Britain. It has artifacts coming from different eras and almost all around the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, and, of course, from Canada.
Tickets to the Royal Ontario Museum range between C$23 and C$33, depending on what you want to see. If you’re a student, you can save some money, and hence the prices would range between C$18 and C$26.
McMichael Art Museum
If you want to find out more about Canadian arts, the McMichael Art Museum is the place to go.
The museum is located outside Toronto, in Kleinburg, Ontario, which is 45 km northwest of Toronto (about 40 minutes by car).
At McMichael, you can check out the collection of masterpieces created by Canadian artists from different times; this includes the art of the Native American artists, who live in present-day Canada.
The tickets to the McMichael Art museum cost C$18, but if you’re a student, you can get a ticket for C$12.
Do you like watching sports? Great! It’s a perfect way to improve your language skills!
Many of us love sports, be it soccer, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, you name it.
Canadians are big fans of ice hockey, baseball, basketball, and American football as well, just like their southern neighbors, Americans.
However, ice hockey is labeled as the national winter sport in Canada. If you’re a fan of ice hockey, you may know some of the Canadian teams. These include Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators, and others.
Canada is doing fine in basketball as well, even though it only has one team, which is called the Toronto Raptors.
If you would like to watch a hockey or basketball game live, you can go to the Scotiabank Arena. It is the home stadium for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team as well as for the Toronto Raptors basketball team.
While watching the game, you will also dive in a multilingual environment. Among the audience, there will be people of different backgrounds. Mostly, it will be students, who speak Spanish, Russian, Polish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindu, Punjabi, and other languages besides English. That’s a great opportunity to practice your English with foreigners and also learn a little bit of your mother tongues.
Tickets for the game can be a bit expensive, costing between C$60 and C$100.
Also, before buying the tickets, check the game calendar to see if your favorite team is playing.
So, when is the best time to visit Toronto?
If you’re now considering to visit Toronto, the best time to go there would be either spring or fall. These are the seasons when the weather is just fine for spending time outside, due to the city’s climate. Summer is also a good time to visit, but keep in mind that summers in Toronto can be quite hot, especially July and August.
Personally, I would recommend visiting Toronto in the fall. This is the time when you can see the national symbol of Canada, the red maple leaves. To be more specific, the best time to visit would be October, since maple leaves turn orange and red.
How to get around the city?
Toronto is a large city with a population of about 2.7 million people. If you want to make sure that you visit all the places you want, Toronto public transportation is here to help you.
Subway & Buses
Most of the public transportation services are offered by the Toronto Transit Commission, or simply TTC. Their most popular services are the subway and bus networks.
A one-ride fare would cost around C$3.25 (C$ stands for Canadian Dollars). Because this price is under C$10, you can only pay in cash; credit or debit cards won’t be accepted.
The information about transportation is provided in 2 languages, English and French. So, if you’re learning French as well, or you’re a fluent or native French speaker, then you’re even luckier.
Taxi is another way to get around the large city. It may be more expensive, but it can save you more time to see some more of the city’s attractions. Again, the price depends on how long is your ride and how far are you going.
Since Toronto is considered a multinational city, you may realize that the taxi drivers are of different nationalities. There are many drivers from India, China, Colombia, the former USSR, and so on. Sometimes, you can guess their nationality by their accent of English.
What Food You Should Try
Besides amusements that we already talked about, Canada also has something to offer in terms of food.
Maple Leaf Syrup
Since one of Canada’s national symbols is a maple leaf, you should definitely try maple syrup. Canadians love to use on almost any dessert.
While you’re in Toronto, don’t forget to try poutine as well. Poutine consists of French fries with gravy sauce and cheese curds. It can also include variations such as Poutine with bacon, which is personally my most favorite kind.
The best place for poutine would be Smoke’s poutinerie, where you can buy a regular size for about C$10-C$15.
Now you know what to see in Toronto if you decide to go there to practice your English. When you travel, you don't only improve your foreign language skills. You also learn something new about history, culture, and people from a different country.
I am German and I was born in Russia in 1995. I spent 14 years in the English speaking environment, including 5 years in Canada from 2014 to 2019. I enjoy traveling and learning about foreign countries, cultures, and languages. I also enjoy blogging and perfecting my skills in it.
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